Tempo, tempo, tempo

Tempo, tempo, tempo

CLEMSON – As reporters enjoyed a rare viewing window of Clemson's first football practice of the 2013 season Friday, a familiar credo rang out.

As stretching and punt drills ended, a coach yelled out, "Tempo! Tempo!" as offensive players scurried into place for fast-paced drills.

Clemson has been fast in Chad Morris' two seasons as offensive coordinator. Unsurprisingly, Morris wants more. He made that much clear when he spoke with reporters Saturday night following the Tigers' second workout.

So far, so good.

"The one that really stood out from day 1 to day 2, our tempo was really good," Morris said. "That was one of our objectives today, to push the limits and challenge them tempo-wise. Our tempo was as good as it's been since I've been here in the first two days of practice. We're a long ways away, we're not ready to start signing autographs, nothing like that, but we did see some improvement."

Clemson averaged 81.6 offensive snaps per game last season. Morris has said he'd like to see more snaps per game, and Saturday he said he'd like to push to 90-92 plays per game, practically hyper speed.

"We're loading them down. Taxing them as hard as we can tax them right now," he said. "We've got our foot square up their tail right now and we aren't letting up. We've got one more full day Monday of installation and pretty much 90 percent of our offense will be in. We'll repeat everything at that point. They've got a lot on them and they should. A lot of them are three-year starters. We'll see what they can do."

The veterans are being pushed as hard as anyone. All-America and reigning ACC Player of the Year Tajh Boyd was "not as sharp as I want him to be," Morris said.

"But you'd ask me that two days into practice last year, I'd have said the same thing. He wasn't where he needed to be at that point in time last year," he said. "He's got to correct some bad habits he picked up over the summer, maybe because he wasn't watching himself on film, because you can't film your summer workouts. So to be able to go do something, watch it being done, that's how you get better."

With Morris' hawk-like eyes on him, those summer habits will quickly be changed.

"He watched himself with film study of what he did last year, but when you get out there and there's no coaches around, you have a tendency, you may not be as quick in your footwork in game speed as you need to be, with someone constantly harping on you," Morris said. "So that's been my challenge to him. He was better from day 1 to day 2, but he's got a long way to go."

And that's fine, Morris said.

"He'll tell you the same thing... no doubt he should, he's a three-year starter. I'm not worried about Tajh Boyd. We're going to get him right. But I don't want him to look like an All-American right now. I wouldn't have nothing to do if we did that."

"Everyone's an All-American when it's 72 and partly cloudy," Morris said. "We'll see when the pads come on."

Clemson has a cadre of returning veteran wideouts, but two freshmen – Mike Williams and T.J. Green have piqued Morris' curiosity.

"I thought Mike Williams has caught a lot of people's attention," he said. "T.J. Green is another one. He's kind of rugged and he doesn't know what he doesn't know yet, essentially, but I like those two guys. I think those two guys have something to them. Mike Williams is making lot of plays in camp that you'd look and say, that guy looks a lot like No.6 (DeAndre Hopkins), going up and making some plays. He's going up, trying to contest the ball and making a play. We're really excited about them."

Redshirt freshman Germone Hopper, Morris said, must be more consistent.

"G-Hop's got to become fully committed. I think he's his own worst enemy sometimes," Morris said. "He's got to become fully committed in what he does. I've told him that. If not, you can stand over beside us. You've got to be committed, you don't earn trust on game day. For two days, he's like a kid on Christmas, everyone's excited. When the toys wear out, let's see if they're still focused in. I've been happy for two days with him."

Morris also likes the way freshman tailback Tyshon Dye looks initially.

"I looked out there yesterday when I saw 23 (and said), ‘I know Andre's not here,'" Morris said. "He's a bigger, bulkier Andre (Ellington) . He's doing some good things. He's lost as a goose, but he isn't the only one, and that's OK. But he's going to be OK."

Sophomore Zac Brooks also showed up with extra bulk after an inconsistent freshman season, weighing 197 pounds.

"He's been that guy who's been real loose with the ball, hasn't done a good job, maybe laid the ball on the ground a little bit," Morris said. "He fumbled once yesterday, which was unacceptable, so we're not going to tolerate that. He has shown up a little bigger and we're expecting big things from him."

At tight end, Stanton Seckinger weighed in at 238 pounds, displaying the bulk he'll need to contribute regularly.

"He wants to play, wants to contribute, he's a great competitor, and that's where he sees himself," Morris said. "In this position that's a great position to play. And for him to able to see that, I've got to bulk up, become stronger, more physical, because that dude right there sets the tempo for this whole thing."

Behind him, redshirt freshman Jay Jay McCullough has "come out and splashed somewhat, he's flashed in the pan, getting our attention," Morris said. "Two days, two installs, he's better than he was in the spring, but that didn't take much."

Keep in mind, though, these opinions mean little once the pads go on Tuesday afternoon.

"Everyone's an All-American when it's 72 and partly cloudy," Morris said. "We'll see when the pads come on."

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